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I Compared a Vintage '64 & '65 ES345 to a Reissue...

yeatzee

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
52
I had the chance to borrow a couple vintage ES345's for a few weeks so I did a deep dive, documenting them in 4k detail for my fellow guitar geeks!

ZGMZosg.jpg


The guitars are a 1964 and 1965. Since I happen to also own a 1964 reissue ES345 I thought it might be fun to not only compare the 64 and 65, but also throw the reissue into the ring and see how close Gibson gets. Very interesting stuff, always a pleasure to have a vintage Gibson around let alone two. I was pretty surprised by the similarities and differences between all three. The video goes into lots of detail, including some really high quality 4k closeups of the guitars that I'm pretty proud of.


There's timestamps over on YouTube, but they don't show up when embedded for whatever reason. Here's the list:

1:13 - 1964 Sunburst Overview
3:07 - 1965 Cherry Overview
4:22 - Blue Reissue Overview
6:06 - Playing Section Intro
6:22 - Suhr PT15IR CH2
7:20 - Fender Super Reverb
9:02 - Vox AC30TB
9:55 - Suhr PT15IR CH2
12:15 - Suhr PT15IR CH1
13:31 - Fender Super Reverb
14:52 - Fender Super Reverb (w/ varitone)
16:10 - What do we think?
19:25 - Differences (neck)
20:02 - Differences (body)
21:53 - Differences (pickguard)
22:47 - Differences (headstock)
23:32 - Differences (binding)
24:02 - Conclusion


The '64 in sunburst has some insane checking on it, super small patterns all over the top but the back has more traditional looking checking you see on vintage ES guitar's pretty often. The Cherry 65 on the other hand is very clean, really fine checking here and there with more wear on the back. Honestly could pass as a reissue particularly because the gold hardware had been replaced so it's still pretty shiny.

The tonal differences I found pretty interesting, but instead of influencing what you think I'll let you decide with your own ears. I think ultimately my conclusion is that the vintage guitar's quirks are what make them special. The modern reissues are better guitars overall in that they tend to play better, be more stable and sound more balanced. The reissue's are lacking in a number of areas as far as a 1:1 copy is concerned, many things Gibson shouldn't have problems recreating but I don't they really value total accuracy as much as they make us all believe. Anyways super fun, was sad to see them go today, particularly the sunburst, and thought I'd share the detail for the guys that also like this sort of thing.
 

Red Rogue

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
162
Thanks for the comparison!
I think If you had another reissue for the test it would have had another little thing in its tonal character, like all 335.
I`m lucky with my reissue 335!
:)
 

J T

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,307
Heres my 345 re-issue. I really don't know exactly what year it is a re-issue of, '64, 65', whatever, but it plays great, it's mono, and I love the blend of the neck and bridge pickups in the middle position. I can roll one volume all the way down and the other is still there. cool. Gives me the option of not even having the need to hit the three way switch. Just roll the volume. BTW, the only thing I changed was the tailpiece, but I just might replace that with the original.

BTW, under 9 lbs is good, I think.

TJ3FUnM.jpg
 
Last edited:

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,471
I had the chance to borrow a couple vintage ES345's for a few weeks so I did a deep dive, documenting them in 4k detail for my fellow guitar geeks!

ZGMZosg.jpg


The guitars are a 1964 and 1965. Since I happen to also own a 1964 reissue ES345 I thought it might be fun to not only compare the 64 and 65, but also throw the reissue into the ring and see how close Gibson gets. Very interesting stuff, always a pleasure to have a vintage Gibson around let alone two. I was pretty surprised by the similarities and differences between all three. The video goes into lots of detail, including some really high quality 4k closeups of the guitars that I'm pretty proud of.


There's timestamps over on YouTube, but they don't show up when embedded for whatever reason. Here's the list:

1:13 - 1964 Sunburst Overview
3:07 - 1965 Cherry Overview
4:22 - Blue Reissue Overview
6:06 - Playing Section Intro
6:22 - Suhr PT15IR CH2
7:20 - Fender Super Reverb
9:02 - Vox AC30TB
9:55 - Suhr PT15IR CH2
12:15 - Suhr PT15IR CH1
13:31 - Fender Super Reverb
14:52 - Fender Super Reverb (w/ varitone)
16:10 - What do we think?
19:25 - Differences (neck)
20:02 - Differences (body)
21:53 - Differences (pickguard)
22:47 - Differences (headstock)
23:32 - Differences (binding)
24:02 - Conclusion


The '64 in sunburst has some insane checking on it, super small patterns all over the top but the back has more traditional looking checking you see on vintage ES guitar's pretty often. The Cherry 65 on the other hand is very clean, really fine checking here and there with more wear on the back. Honestly could pass as a reissue particularly because the gold hardware had been replaced so it's still pretty shiny.

The tonal differences I found pretty interesting, but instead of influencing what you think I'll let you decide with your own ears. I think ultimately my conclusion is that the vintage guitar's quirks are what make them special. The modern reissues are better guitars overall in that they tend to play better, be more stable and sound more balanced. The reissue's are lacking in a number of areas as far as a 1:1 copy is concerned, many things Gibson shouldn't have problems recreating but I don't they really value total accuracy as much as they make us all believe. Anyways super fun, was sad to see them go today, particularly the sunburst, and thought I'd share the detail for the guys that also like this sort of thing.
I watched the video with the sound put through a proper stereo system at decent volume. (No computer or TV speakers.)
My response to the video:
Great video!
I like them all, the 1964 wins by a nose, but just a small nose.
I feel like the reissue could to better with different pickups, maybe? I'm thinking something with more mids and and maybe a bit more lows - and un-potted. It's so hard to tell, they're all so close.
Do you think top-wrapping the reissue had anything to do with its own sound? - Not necessarily in comparison to the other two guitars.
 

yeatzee

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
52
I watched the video with the sound put through a proper stereo system at decent volume. (No computer or TV speakers.)
My response to the video:
Great video!
I like them all, the 1964 wins by a nose, but just a small nose.
I feel like the reissue could to better with different pickups, maybe? I'm thinking something with more mids and and maybe a bit more lows - and un-potted. It's so hard to tell, they're all so close.
Do you think top-wrapping the reissue had anything to do with its own sound? - Not necessarily in comparison to the other two guitars.
Thanks for taking the time to listen properly! I tried several different pickups in the reissue before shooting this video and most were more mid heavy than these T-tops but also softer / darker so I went with these which I was hoping would get me closer to the brightness of the vintage guitars. I actually did a full on PAF comparison in it with 6 different pickups here:
in the same guitar if you're curious. The t-top replicas are unpotted by the way to my knowledge, they capture a lot of the picking noise.

I've been asked about top wrapping before, in my opinion no it doesn't affect the sound but it does subtly make the guitars more slinky to play. That's been my experience at least.
 

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,471
Thanks for taking the time to listen properly! I tried several different pickups in the reissue before shooting this video and most were more mid heavy than these T-tops but also softer / darker so I went with these which I was hoping would get me closer to the brightness of the vintage guitars. I actually did a full on PAF comparison in it with 6 different pickups here:
in the same guitar if you're curious. The t-top replicas are unpotted by the way to my knowledge, they capture a lot of the picking noise.

I've been asked about top wrapping before, in my opinion no it doesn't affect the sound but it does subtly make the guitars more slinky to play. That's been my experience at least.
I'll check out this video!

I happen to top-wrap my 1959 ES345 (and Les Paul). Slinkier - indeed, and with no loss/change of tone that I can identify over non-top-wrapping. In fact, I've written several posts here about top-wrapping ... and several other posts in defense of the Varitone, out-of-phase, and stereo wiring of the great and powerful ES345! I'm an ES345 superfan. I hope other ES345 fans chime in on this thread.

Moreover, both of my Gibsons have PAFs. My 345 has it's original PAFs and my 1995 R9 has a double white in the bridge (8.2Ω, from a 1959 335) and a PAF from a 1961/2 SG (?Ω) in the neck. I wouldn't describe the sound as "brighter" despite this vocabulary word being regularly used to describe part of the PAF sound, instead, I'd describe it as "rich" (possibly "fat", too) and, just as you described the 1964 ES345, "quirky". Of course, they're unpotted and hence somewhat microphonic, a good quality in my opinion.

Also, you're correct, the internet is wrong! The Varitone in by-pass is a true by-pass (It might get funky in the mid\late '60s, but there ya go). My Varitone is intact as is the out-of-phase pickup magnets - and I actually make use of the stereo wiring! I use two wah pedals, one for each pickup! It's good fun!

Here's some old pictures just for fun that I'm sure many members here have seen before!
 

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